‘Stop the wars, save the planet!’

Activists with the People’s Mobilization to Stop the U.S. War Machine gathered at Herald Square Sept. 22 to denounce U.S. imperialism and its role in the current climate crisis. People’s Mobilization is a coalition that includes Code Pink, the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, the International Action Center and many anti-war, environmental and other organizations. 

The demonstration was scheduled to coincide with the opening of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

More than 300 demonstrators correctly pointed out that the U.N. has often been a tool of U.S. imperialism, thereby completely failing to uphold its “three pillars:” peace and security, human rights and development. In actuality, the U.N. has either closed its eyes or been an active participant in the escalation of imperialist wars, decades of human rights violations in Palestine and the underdevelopment of the global South (countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean) for the benefit of Western finance capital.

Many of the activists in attendance also pointed out that the Pentagon is one of the planet’s leading polluters, emitting more greenhouse gases from its military operations than many industrialized nations. U.S. wars pose an imminent threat to civilians in targeted countries, but they also pose an existential threat to the entire biosphere, as the planet careens closer and closer to climate catastrophe.

The demonstration coincided with the U.S.’s increasing hostilities against Venezuela, China and Iran. Flailing from one target to the next in a futile attempt to shore up its deteriorating legitimacy, the U.S. policy of “maximum pressure” can be more accurately described as “maximum belligerency.” 

First, there was the attempt to topple the Venezuelan government and replace the democratically elected leadership with a U.S. puppet. Then, the U.S. sought to fabricate an international incident in the Strait of Hormuz as a pretext for war with Iran. 

Now the U.S. has targeted the Chinese economy through an escalating trade war. And through all these hostile — though half-baked — stratagems, the U.S. has wielded deadly sanctions like a cudgel against any government that challenges its hegemony.

During the rally and march from Herald Square, organizers raised all these issues and ended their demonstration in front of the U.N. The challenge offered was clear: “Stop the wars, save the planet.” The leadership at the United Nations has shown that they lack the vision and courage to take  actions necessary to ensure the survival of the species — but the people do. With each new generation, popular outrage against imperialist warmongering grows. Only the power of the masses can stop the U.S. war machine. And that power is growing every day.

Motema spoke at the rally on behalf of Workers World Party.

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